Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"The Last Mountain"--Big Coal Destruction Continues Blasting Through Appalachia and the Truth

" Corporations do not want democracy they want profits"--Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"The Last Mountain" is a film by Bill Haney heralded as a "fight for our future." He's right about that and we're hoping some of our environmental groups in Alabama bring this film to our state for a community viewing.

There is one in Alabama that might not be interested in sponsoring any film that casts the light of truth on coal since they seem to have sold out to the persuasions of the men in black.

We have been sorely disappointed by the stance of this state conservation group and their support of the coal ash bill recently passing in the state legislature, and we do not agree with their statement that it was "good legislation and a positive first step." 

First steps in Alabama are generally the last and only step. If the EPA decides to classify coal ash as hazardous, the backers of the bill will fight any changes to this already bad legislation with everything they can muster. They will probably succeed, or at the very least, delay change for so long the damage will be done and irreversible.

Most of our environmental groups know this is standard operating procedure in the always on the side of big business legislature and a 'green group' taking sides with the benefactors of the bill is both mind-boggling and inexcusable.

Taking a deeper look into the sponsors behind the coal ash bill, Alabama Power Company (APCO) and Drummond Coal, and considering their controversial histories, raises more questions than answers about the possible motives of any so-called conservation group's seal of approval.

This was an opportunity to stand against coal ash in landfills across Alabama that was not taken. In our opinions, this group loses credibility by choosing to side with big coal and against the protection of any other Alabama community becoming another Perry County. We're not surprised really because Alabama's appetite for coal is so deep, dark and powerful it's able to bend almost any opposition to its will and will stop at nothing to further its agenda.

Like a heat seeking missile locked onto its target, coal interests identify opposition they perceive as shapers of public opinion and plant their ideals in the group like an insidious weed. Dependence on state funds may be acting as the water that keeps the weed alive and any attempt to pull it out results in the threat of decreasing the organizations funds.

But it's important to pick a side, stand for it and stay off the fence.

Political muscling by the coal industry and its affiliates goes on everywhere in the country.  Even our schoolchildren and education system are not immune from the proliferation of the industry's message--coal is good for jobs and America. Coal is good for you too children!

When big coal paid Scholastic to carry industry propaganda to fourth graders in the US a firestorm of controversy quickly ensued among environmental groups:
Scholastic’s InSchool Marketing division, which produced the coal curriculum in partnership with the coal foundation, often works with groups like the American Society of Hematology, the Federal Trade Commission and the Census Bureau to create curriculum materials.
The division’s programs are “designed to promote client objectives and meet the needs of target teachers, students, and parents” and “make a difference by influencing attitudes and behaviors,” according to the company Web site.
“Promoting ‘client objectives’ to a captive student audience isn’t education,” Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a statement. “It’s predatory marketing. By selling its privileged access to children to the coal industry, Scholastic is commercializing classrooms and undermining education.” 
Immense pressure caused Scholastic to remove "The United States of Energy" from their website this past May, but not before "the worst kind of corporate brainwashing" developed by the American Coal Foundation had already been distributed to 66,000 fourth grade teachers.

Nothing compares to a captive audience when your aim is to influence and mold the next generation's mindset about fossil fuels and big coal is always long on propaganda and profits and far short on truths.

It's no different in Dixie than it is anywhere else in the country. The message is always the same--look at all the civic good we do, jobs we provide and by the way, have you viewed our latest slick ad campaign? 

The next time you see one of APCO's commercials with fields of flowers, butterflies fluttering about and birds soaring through blue skies with the message of "We're Always On" think a little deeper about what "Always On" really means.

*Robert F. Kennedy Jr. commentary on Blair Mountain
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  1. Ah so, see you have been building a new woodshed Max. I think it looks just dandy!

  2. I'm thinking along these lines; "Look at all the politicians you bribe, communities you ruin and people you kill you evil bastards!"
    Sorry, I got up a little irritated this am...but it's true isn't it?
    No where in all their mouthing is there any mention of what they do so wrong and the increased costs of healthcare that comes from health problems of people living with bad air and water.
    They'll be fine, just take some more medicine and bring in another 02 bottle, nothing of consequence here.
    How about those 6 children lying in their graves who died a wretched death from cancer mentioned in the film?
    They're not fine!!!

  3. All God's children need a little coal in their lives in these fiends distorted view of seeing things. I used to work as an oncology nurse, retired now, and 6 kids with cancer right next to each other meets the accepted definition of a cluster.
    Coal is a killer plain and simple and no amount of lies can change that fact. Money however is another story and it has been known to change facts.
    Bring the film, would love to see it!

  4. I think I kind of like a little smack down on my toast now that I've tried it.
    Good for you Max!
    That was one delivered that is well-deserved.
    "Stand for something or fall for anything."

  5. 4th graders???
    They have no shame! Would like to know how much money changed hands.

  6. Sometimes fence sitting has it's advantages. In political walks it pays better.

  7. Note the river on the map near Decatur.
    Tennessee River.
    If we keep going at this rate of pollution to our state waterways what are we going to do for drinking water people?
    Don't you care?

  8. Green groups nationwide have sold their souls to the corporations for cash, thinking if we work with them then maybe we will at least get something accomplished. If we don't we get nothing accomplished. That thinking has been called political schizophrenia and it's not helping, it's enabling more destruction!

    I'm a big fan of the National Resources Defense Council and Charles Komanoff who said this:
    "We're close to a civil war in the environmental movement. For too long, all the oxygen in the room has been sucked out by this beast of these insider groups, who achieve almost nothing.... We need to create new organizations that represent the fundamentals of environmentalism and have real goals."

    He's exactly right!

    Pick a side and take a stand with unwavering principles or get the hell out of the way.

  9. Way to put it through the net with one big swoosh Nat! Bravo!
    Wish I had thought of it......

  10. I'm clapping for you right now NG!
    So well said!
    Count me in the line of wanting to see the film.

  11. The cancer connection.
    According to the Chinese Ministry of Health's own admission and statistics coal is literally killing China.


  12. It should be "always in" your politician's pocket!


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